Annex School holds annual open house for parents, students

Artist in Residence Rikki Jo Hickey helps a student perform during the 4th annual STEAM Camp open house held Thursday, June 27. About 26 kids attended this year’s camp to learn hands-on about science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

Annex Charter School held its fourth annual STEAM Camp open house, which gave students the opportunity to show their parents the projects they worked on during camp this year. From left, Brittany Prieta Ramos and Elianna Santana and use a special 3-D computer program to learn about a variety of subjects, using a stylus to take them apart and put them back together.
Philip A. Janquart
Annex Charter School held its annual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) Camp open house on Thursday, June 27.
 Now in its fourth year, the camp gives students the opportunity to show parents the projects they have been working on since the camp began earlier in the month.
 It was four weeks of hands-on learning meant to allow kids to apply what they have learned in class during the regular school year and, perhaps, get a jump on what to expect next year.
 “What the kids have accomplished shows that they want to learn and explore, and they had some fun things to do,” said Annex sixth and seventh grade teacher and open house coordinator Joe Burris. “We had 25 to 26 students everyday on a consistent basis. By the third week, we have a little dip in enrollment because families go on vacation, but overall, we’ve been really consistent.”
 Students are picked up and bused to the school and are fed breakfast and lunch. On Thursday, parents and their kids were treated to free shaved ice provided by Sterling Shaved Ice, owned by Weiser city councilman Sterling Blackwell.
 “We had quite a variety ofprojects,” Burris added. “All the different activities were somebody’s favorite.”
 Some of the projects included learning about weather and the different types of clouds you see in the sky every day. Others included programming tiny robots to follow a pre-determined path and building models of different objects.
 “There’s little pieces that snap together,” said Annex third grader Ellianna Santana. “Mine is kind of like a bridge.”
 She added that part of her inspiration was the bridge spanning the Weiser River that separates Oregon and Idaho, and Weiser from Annex.
 Kids also had fun exploring innovative, 3-D computer software.
 One of the programs is called “zSpace,” where kids can explore and move different characters around the “Fun Room.” The 3-D format provides students with the feeling that they are really there, exploring an actual object or environment. 
 Another is called VIVED Science, which helps students explore more complex concepts and develop critical thinking. It allows students to explore specimens in detail, layer by layer, using nothing more than a stylus. 
 Last week, the kiddos dissected myriad objects including frogs, plants, and cats, or mechanical and electrical equipment. The intuitive tool is intended to accelerate learning and covers everything from science and astronomy to zoology, human anatomy, and microbiology.
 “You can choose different objects and take them apart and put them back together,” said Charter School third grade teacher and STEAM camp instructor Brooke Mink. “And when you take something apart, it gives the name of each of those parts as you are pulling them off. It gives you other information, as well. It’s pretty cool.”
 This year’s artist-in-residence was Rikki Jo Hickey, an actor, professional storyteller, and theater director. She earned her bachelor’s of art from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore. and master’s of fine arts, in Theatre Directing, from the University of Hawaii.
 She also owns an acting studio in La Grande. She came to Annex through the Arts in Schools program.
 Thursday’s little actors dawned clown noses while standing on stage in the gymnasium where they told a joke of their choosing.
 “I’m teaching them how to feel comfortable in their bodes and interact with one another, and build teamwork,” Hickey explained. “The clowning, they got up on stage in front of the audience and told a joke while incorporating the body movement, the face, and the voice.”
 Burris said he was happy with this year’s camp.
 “We’ve really had a lot of fun exploring science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics,” he said. “I hope the parents found it to be valuable to their students.”


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

Connect with Us